ISBN-13: 9780446407410
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Published: September 2008
277 pgs

From the blurb:

How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? You can't even begin to answer those questions until you hear the charming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.

Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most.

As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.

Dewey (Dewey Readmore Books, as in full) was not your ordinary cat. Named in honour of the Dewey Decimal System, he was discovered by Vicki Myron, a library director of the Spencer Public Library on a frigid January morning in 1988. Someone had dropped him into the library's returned book slot and let him freezes there, but this cruel act did not stop Dewey from trusting people in future, in fact he let people petted him, squeezed him, fondled him and never showed any signs of biting or getting away. Vicki decided to keep him, and he became the first library cat of Spencer Public Library.

But this is not all about Dewey, there is also story of Spencer, the small town and how the farm crisis of the 1980s affected the residents, and the farmers in particular and how they had rebuild and made things seem right and normal again. Dewey was an inspiration to them all, because he made them believe that a terrible event may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened, just like the way he survived through the bitterly cold night and ended up as the library cat. His confidence, his trust and his sociality charmed most library patrons, both children and adults.

Not only did Dewey bring hope to Spencer, but he also reached out to the people as well when they were feeling a loss of confidence or simply having a bad day. Dewey seemed to be able to know their moods and he would jump into their laps and allow them to pet him. Occasionally, he was being pushed away but rejection never deterred him. Then things started to change; the older patrons who came to the library to flip through magazines or browse for books started to show up more frequently and stayed in the library longer. And their conversations would lead towards Dewey. There was one scenario of a man who looked through the job listings in the library and he was always quiet and unflappable, and whenever Dewey approached him, he would push him away until one day, Dewey was sitting on his lap and the man was smiling for the first time, even though there was sadness in his eyes. This was a fine example how much impact Dewey had made on people. He was always so warming and trusting.

There was a stage where Vicki experienced an emotional distance with her teenaged daughter, Jodi and it was Dewey which brought their relations closer again. There was also a time when Vicki found out there were lumps in her breasts and she needed to have a surgery. Dewey's company made the difference as he would sit on her and snuggled in her arms. Soon news of him began to spread worldwide and the media started to take notice of him.

Alas, old age is slowly creeping on Dewey and he began to show signs of loss of hearing and sickness. The library board directors were concerned about these but Vicki had argued and explained that old cats, or even older people have something to teach everyone, or at least to ourselves if not about the world. In the end, Dewey stayed. It was only towards the end when I read about Dewey's death that set tears to my eyes. His story, his life journey and what he had done to the people had touched me, but that is not all, I was equally moved by Vicki's story as well. A purr-fect and inspiring read which I highly recommend to anyone, cat lover or not.

18 Responses
  1. Jeane Says:

    I love cats and libraries, so I absolutely have to read this book someday. I'm afraid the ending will make me cry, though.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I've heard a lot of buzz about this book. I'm glad you liked it.

  3. Darlene Says:

    What a beautiful picture you posted with the book today-very pretty. I have this book on my nightstand and have heard nothing but good things about it. I'm anxious to get to it. Great review!

  4. Ladytink_534 Says:

    I haven't read it yet but I won this last month. I need to read it soon since my mom really wants to borrow it from me.

  5. Iliana Says:

    This sounds like such a heart-warming story! Although, I hadn't heard of how Dewey ended up in the library to begin with - that is just awful.

  6. The Bookworm Says:

    awwww...its sounds like a tear jerker.
    great review ;)

  7. Ana S. Says:

    Like Jeane I love cats and libraries, so that alone would be enough to make me want to read it. But on top of that, it sounds like such a sweet and touching book.

  8. Alice Says:

    Great pic and review, Melody! I love cats and definitely libraries (not the ones in Malaysia but Singapore has a great one), so I'm sure this is what I'd love to read. It's time to pick it up instead of putting it back on the shelf each I pick it up at the bookshop.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Oh...I am not fond of pets so much. But somehow I have been wanting to read this. Thats quite an innovative way of posting a pic

  10. Paula Weston Says:

    Sounds like a beautiful story. I have a cat-loving friend who will really enjoy this.

    And I agree with everyone else - lovely pic.

  11. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Melody! As much as I love animals, I have difficulty reading books like this and so decided after the last one like this that I was better off avoiding them. It's not that I don't like them, I do. They are just too painful when I get to the end.

  12. Glad you liked this one, Melody! I've heard really good things about it and being a cat lover, I don't know how I can pass it up for too long.

  13. Melody Says:

    Jeane - It's a great book IMO! I hope you'll like it as much as I do when you get to it.

    Kristy - It's the buzz that made me pick up the book! :D

    Dar - Thank you! I thought I want something fun besides posting the review so that explains the pic! ;)

    Jen - Congrats on winning the book! I hope you and your mom will enjoy reading it. :)

    Iliana - Dewey melted my heart the moment I pick up the book to read it. I wish I've a cat like him.

    Naida - It is a tear-jerker, but then I enjoyed reading Dewey's story so much! He was such a great cat!

    Nymeth - I know you'll enjoy reading this one, although the ending is so sad!

    Alice - Thanks! :) I'm sure you'll get this book the next time you get to the bookstore.

    Violet - Thanks! I'm hoping you'll read this book soon! :)

    Paula - Thank you! I'm sure your cat-loving friend will want to read this!

    Wendy - I understand about the pain. It's not easy reading matters like that no matter what... I didn't know there'll a sad ending until I get to the end of the book. Initially before getting the book, I had thought Dewey still exists.

    Trish - I'm sure you'll like this one. It's such a heartwarming story too!

  14. Julia Says:

    Very sweet and the right things to do, to honor Dewey's death this way :)

    Enjoy reading your reviews as always :)

  15. mariel Says:

    I have a feeling this is one that will make me blub! Cats and combination in the world. Great review!

  16. Melody Says:

    Julia - Thank you! :) The author has done a terrific job in sharing with her readers this biography, although I'm sure it'd break her heart during the writing process.

    Mariel - Thanks! I'm sure you'd love this one as well!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    This book is up next after I finish The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Woohoo. :)

  18. Melody Says:

    Matt - I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

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